Purple Knights counter late Stonehill surges, pull away for 74-59 victory on Senior Day

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's basketball team held sizeable advantages in rebounding and points in the paint while countering late surges by Stonehill College to pull away for a 74-59 victory during Senior Day on Saturday in the Ross Sports Center. Thanks to their third win in four games, the Purple Knights are 8-15 overall and 5-14 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Skyhawks slipped to 11-12 and 7-12.

Saint Michael's held advantages of 38-18 on points in the paint and 38-23 on the glass, as well as hitting its final four three-point attempts over the last 8:15 after the visitors crept to within five points. Sophomore Corey Crawford II (Dover, Del./The Phelps School) posted 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting for the hosts, adding eight rebounds, while classmate James Cambronne (De Bary, Fla./The Winchendon School) had 14 points and six boards. Sophomore Mike Thompson (Rosedale, N.Y./Christ The King Regional) and first-year Greg Grippo (Edison, N.J./Rutgers Prep) each turned in 12 points, and sophomore Dom Ditlefsen (Portland, Ore./Sunset) doled out five assists.

First-year Carter Smith (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) led a balanced Stonehill scoring attack with 12 points, while senior Brian Hamor (Schenectady, N.Y./Bishop Gibbons) and sophomore Jack Cole (New Providence, N.J./New Providence) accumulated nine points apiece. All nine Skyhawks that appeared scored at least two points.

On the strength of a 12-4 run, Saint Michael's built an early 19-9 lead when Ditlefsen buried a three-pointer at 12:09 of the opening half, but Stonehill eventually battled back to forge a 24-all tie and grab a 26-25 edge on senior Raheem May-Thompson's (London, England/Towson Catholic/Quinnipiac) jumper at 3:24. The Purple Knights countered with the final eight points of the period, with Thompson dropping in a go-ahead lay-up at 3:07. Senior Derek Knutty (Rocklin, Calif./Whitney) completed the three-point play by converting the free throw in Thompson's absence.

Hamor's bucket brought his team within 33-28 53 seconds into the second half, and the Purple Knights continued to lead by no more than 10 before Cole knocked down a pair of free throws to make it 44-39 with 8:44 left. However, Thompson connected from deep 29 seconds later, sparking an 8-0 run during which Cambronne scored the final five points.

After Stonehill trimmed the hole down to 55-46, sophomore Mauri Boschetti (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) canned a triple at 5:04, and Grippo drained a long-range shot with 4:31 remaining to produce a 61-47 margin. Smith hit a trey of his own at 2:26 to complete a quick 9-3 spurt for Stonehill, bringing it within 64-56, but Thompson hit another three near the end of the shot clock to provide the hosts with an 11-point lead and 1:56 remaining, kicking off a 9-0 run that iced the win.

Knutty and senior John Reiser (Manchester, Conn./Manchester) were honored prior to the contest during a Senior Day ceremony.

The Purple Knights close their home slate on Wednesday against Merrimack College at 7:30 p.m.